Penetrating cardiac injuries: a population-based study

J Trauma. 1998 Aug;45(2):366-70. doi: 10.1097/00005373-199808000-00028.


Background: Wide variances exist in reports of survival rates after penetrating cardiac injuries because most are hospital-based reports and thus are affected by the local trauma system. The objective of this study was to report population-based, as well as hospital-based, survival rates after penetrating cardiac injury.

Methods: Retrospective cohort analysis was performed during a 7-year period of 20,181 consecutive trauma admissions to a regional Level I trauma center and 6,492 medical examiner's reports. A meta-analysis was performed comparing survival rates with available population-based reports.

Results: There were 212 penetrating cardiac injuries identified, for an incidence of approximately 1 per 100,000 man years and 1 per 210 admissions. The overall survival rate was 19.3% (41 of 212) for the population studied, with survival rates of 9.7% (12 of 123) for gunshot wounds and 32.6% (29 of 89) for stab wounds. Ninety-six of the 212 patients were transported to the trauma center for treatment, resulting in an overall hospital survival rate of 42.7% (41 of 96), with a hospital survival rate of 29.3% (12 of 41) for gunshot wounds and 52.7% (29 of 55) for stab wounds.

Conclusion: Review of population-based studies indicates that there has been only a minor improvement in the survival rates for the treatment of penetrating cardiac injuries.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Adult
  • Cause of Death / trends
  • Female
  • Heart Injuries / etiology
  • Heart Injuries / mortality*
  • Heart Injuries / surgery*
  • Hospital Mortality / trends*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Trauma Centers
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Washington / epidemiology
  • Wounds, Penetrating / etiology
  • Wounds, Penetrating / mortality*
  • Wounds, Penetrating / surgery*